Weighing on the debate that has emerged around whether stump-mics should be turned up on the cricket pitch, England all-rounder Moeen Ali said that it’s “time for people to behave themselves.” “Turn the stump mics up. Why turn them down? So people can swear? There is no reason to get personal,” Moeen is quoted as saying by British media before England flew to Barbados for the ODI series against West Indies.
“Sledge [opponents] about their cricket. If you don’t think they are good, tell them. It doesn’t have to be swearing. Keep it funny. There’s brilliant ways to sledge, just don’t go personal,” said Moeen.
West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel has been suspended for the first four ODIs of the series after an exchange of words with England captain Joe Root during the third Test in St Lucia that prompted the England captain to say, “There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
The incident follows Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed being heard on the stump mic making a racial remark to South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo and prompted former England coach Trevor Bayliss to say that he would like to see the mics turned down. Commentator and former player Sanjay Manjrekar also tweeted his reservations on the stump mics.
After Sarfraz it’s Shannon Gabriel now who could be in trouble thanks to the stump mics. #ICC must brainstorm and decide if increased use of stump mics is actually good for the game or not.
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) 12 February 2019
However, Gabriel himself issued an apology and admitted that he had said to Root: “Why are you smiling? Do you like boys?.” In a statement that was put out on Thursday, Gabriel revealed that he retorted by saying “I have no issues with that, but you should stop smiling at me.” “I know now that it was offensive and for that I am deeply sorry,” said Gabriel.
“It’s a shame, because Shannon Gabriel is a really nice guy and a quiet person,” said Moeen. “But it’s the way society is: things come out of people’s mouths. You’re not going to get away with it now. You have to be careful.”
In his autobiography, published towards the end of 2018, Moeen had said that he was racially abused by an Australian player during the 2015 Ashes. He alleges that the player said: “Take that, Osama.” Following an inquiry by Cricket Australia that was triggered by the admission, the accused player denied the charge and insisted that he had instead said: “Take that, part-timer.” Moeen remains adamant that it is not true.
Moeen also said that the stump mics can capture some of the more entertaining exchanges that occur between players. “Imagine all the legendary old stories, if we had them recorded,” Moeen said. “We can do the same now. It doesn’t have to be swearing. Keep it funny. We want people to be attracted to the game. There’s brilliant ways to sledge,” he said.